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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Posted in the intro section - new member, not new to riding. Have owned a Rebel for 3 years with over 10k kms, and always fully self-serviced and maintained since day 1.

I recently bought a new 2020 CB500F and just ticked over the recommended break in mileage. Fantastic bike for my purposes in every way - very smooth (mostly) and nimble, with plenty of power to suit my needs.

Couple of issues hopefully you guys can weigh in on (one more serious in my view):

1) Doing a thorough inspection at 560kms, I noticed the coolant reservoir is darn near completely empty - just a couple of drops pooled down at the very bottom, way below the "lower" mark. Attached picture below; seems there is definitely a blue marking from factory to indicate that the level has been checked, but the coolant is no where to be found. Obviously, checked cold etc, and the bike has been running fine with no overheating issues, so I'm puzzled. The manual says to fill up according to the markers, so I did that for now to monitor. I don't see any evidence of a leak anywhere 🤷‍♂️.

2) This is a much more serious issue - After about 300kms, I started experiencing very rough shifting when going 1st into 2nd on the move, and occasional false neutrals and missed shifts on the way back to 1st. Sometimes, the little " - " symbol appears on the dash indicating an incomplete shift, and I have to basically retry. Very sporadic, and definitely doesn't happen all the time or in any specific condition, but I hear a very audible "crunch" on the way up to 2nd and I feel it in the pedal. It's the sound and feel of dogs grinding, there's no question about it. 2nd into 3rd onward appears to be fine. I'm not talking about the "clunk" that you get when stationery and kicking into gear from neutral, I know that's quite normal.

Shifts were absolutely buttery smooth before, so I'm not sure what happened. I checked everything I possibly can on the outside, and all seems well - clutch freeplay and engagement in spec, oil level (still factory oil) in spec, nothing is loose on the shifter...I'm very puzzled. Ideas?

72909
 

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Other owners have noticed an initial loss of coolant (or lack there of).
Fill it to the mark and watch it closely for a while until you are confident it is staying full.
If it is leaking it is probably from the coolant pump.

No idea bout the rough shifting, unless the clutch cable has suddenly gone slack.

Stay well
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Other owners have noticed an initial loss of coolant (or lack there of).
Fill it to the mark and watch it closely for a while until you are confident it is staying full.
If it is leaking it is probably from the coolant pump.

No idea bout the rough shifting, unless the clutch cable has suddenly gone slack.

Stay well
Thanks! Yeah, the dealership mentioned there might have been an air pocket or something that sucked up coolant into the radiator...or something like that. I'll monitor closely.

I'm taking the bike in tomorrow to get it looked it for the shifting issues. Actually, about the clutch cable...seems I'm always needing to adjust it to correct spec and the freeplay is not always consistent to what I last set it to. Very strange.
 

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I had the same issue with clutch Freeplay. I had to keep adjusting it for the first 1,000 miles. Now it's stays perfect. Had a shifting issue as well, partly getting the gear shift at the correct height for me, and me not being positive enough in my shifting. Also getting used to the way the gear shifting needs to be treated as regards to the pressure needed. Like anything a subconscious memory learning curve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I had the same issue with clutch Freeplay. I had to keep adjusting it for the first 1,000 miles. Now it's stays perfect. Had a shifting issue as well, partly getting the gear shift at the correct height for me, and me not being positive enough in my shifting. Also getting used to the way the gear shifting needs to be treated as regards to the pressure needed. Like anything a subconscious memory learning curve.
Thanks for the reply. Good to know things eventually settle.

I have a new clue: clutch actuator seems to be a little leaky.

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re the coolant: I'd give a new bike a little bit of allowance to allow any air that hadn't been bled out of the system during manufacture to be extirpated in the first few hundred KMs, its volume in the system being replaced with the contents of the overflow reservoir. Fill it to the appropriate line and keep an eye on it. If you need to keep adding coolant then it's either consuming or leaking it.

re the transmission: I don't think oil weeping at the release arm issue is related to your crunchy shifts though I would definitely get that repaired under warranty. A sudden onset of difficult shifting related to two gears is more troubling. A while ago I analyzed the the 500's transmission to try to help someone else having shifting problems:



You have trouble going from 1st to 2nd and sometimes from 2nd to 1st. There are two shift forks at play when moving between 1 and 2: one moves the 5th secondary shaft gear ("5S"), the other moves the 6th secondary shaft gear ("6S"). To select first gear from N, 5S is moved left (in this diagram), engaging 1S. To go to 2nd, 5S is moved back and 6S is moved right (in this diagram), engaging 2S. 5S and 6S are also used to select 3rd and 4th gears and 5th and 6th are engaged by sliding 34M one way or the other.

It seems like to see the issues you're having you'd need a problem in the 6S fork movement at the part of the shift drum associated with selecting/deselecting 2nd gear.

It may be nothing more than an undetected machining burr in the drum that will be burnished with use and time and eventually the action will smooth out and become a non-issue. It's not unusual for machined parts to require time to "bed in" or "seat" with other machined parts, sort of like piston rings. But the sudden onset is unusual. I'd report it to the dealer and make sure they write your observation down on the invoice as proof you knew about it. If the problem persists or worsens rather than getting better in the next few hundred KMs it may require splitting the cases to determine what's wrong in the gearbox or shift mechanism.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
re the coolant: I'd give a new bike a little bit of allowance to allow any air that hadn't been bled out of the system during manufacture to be extirpated in the first few hundred KMs, its volume in the system being replaced with the contents of the overflow reservoir. Fill it to the appropriate line and keep an eye on it. If you need to keep adding coolant then it's either consuming or leaking it.

re the transmission: I don't think oil weeping at the release arm issue is related to your crunchy shifts though I would definitely get that repaired under warranty. A sudden onset of difficult shifting related to two gears is more troubling. A while ago I analyzed the the 500's transmission to try to help someone else having shifting problems:



You have trouble going from 1st to 2nd and sometimes from 2nd to 1st. There are two shift forks at play when moving between 1 and 2: one moves the 5th secondary shaft gear ("5S"), the other moves the 6th secondary shaft gear ("6S"). To select first gear from N, 5S is moved left (in this diagram), engaging 1S. To go to 2nd, 5S is moved back and 6S is moved right (in this diagram), engaging 2S. 5S and 6S are also used to select 3rd and 4th gears and 5th and 6th are engaged by sliding 34M one way or the other.

It seems like to see the issues you're having you'd need a problem in the 6S fork movement at the part of the shift drum associated with selecting/deselecting 2nd gear.

It may be nothing more than an undetected machining burr in the drum that will be burnished with use and time and eventually the action will smooth out and become a non-issue. It's not unusual for machined parts to require time to "bed in" or "seat" with other machined parts, sort of like piston rings. But the sudden onset is unusual. I'd report it to the dealer and make sure they write your observation down on the invoice as proof you knew about it. If the problem persists or worsens rather than getting better in the next few hundred KMs it may require splitting the cases to determine what's wrong in the gearbox or shift mechanism.
Thanks so much for the detailed (and worrying) explanation. I'll see what they have to say tomorrow 😕
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
re the coolant: I'd give a new bike a little bit of allowance to allow any air that hadn't been bled out of the system during manufacture to be extirpated in the first few hundred KMs, its volume in the system being replaced with the contents of the overflow reservoir. Fill it to the appropriate line and keep an eye on it. If you need to keep adding coolant then it's either consuming or leaking it.

re the transmission: I don't think oil weeping at the release arm issue is related to your crunchy shifts though I would definitely get that repaired under warranty. A sudden onset of difficult shifting related to two gears is more troubling. A while ago I analyzed the the 500's transmission to try to help someone else having shifting problems:



You have trouble going from 1st to 2nd and sometimes from 2nd to 1st. There are two shift forks at play when moving between 1 and 2: one moves the 5th secondary shaft gear ("5S"), the other moves the 6th secondary shaft gear ("6S"). To select first gear from N, 5S is moved left (in this diagram), engaging 1S. To go to 2nd, 5S is moved back and 6S is moved right (in this diagram), engaging 2S. 5S and 6S are also used to select 3rd and 4th gears and 5th and 6th are engaged by sliding 34M one way or the other.

It seems like to see the issues you're having you'd need a problem in the 6S fork movement at the part of the shift drum associated with selecting/deselecting 2nd gear.

It may be nothing more than an undetected machining burr in the drum that will be burnished with use and time and eventually the action will smooth out and become a non-issue. It's not unusual for machined parts to require time to "bed in" or "seat" with other machined parts, sort of like piston rings. But the sudden onset is unusual. I'd report it to the dealer and make sure they write your observation down on the invoice as proof you knew about it. If the problem persists or worsens rather than getting better in the next few hundred KMs it may require splitting the cases to determine what's wrong in the gearbox or shift mechanism.
Follow up question:

In any situation from the above RE transmission issue, why would the problem present itself sporadically and inconsistently? My thinking is that if there's a fault, the problem would be there all the time...no?
 

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Follow up question:

In any situation from the above RE transmission issue, why would the problem present itself sporadically and inconsistently? My thinking is that if there's a fault, the problem would be there all the time...no?
While I tend to agree (if there were a hard fault it would, you'd think, be persistent), there might be faults that present randomly. If a fastener is loose or a bit of machining swarf the mechanism could periodically go out of alignment or be interfered-with.

I was under the impression from your OP that the trans seemed fine and then sort of suddenly wasn't (at ~300kms). Does the problem come and go? If so, it may still mean there's something that needs to be addressed but in the shift mechanism "upstream" of the shift drum. Those parts can be accessed from the right side of the engine after removing the clutch but without taking the bottom end apart.

Regardless, it seems early to talk about catastrophic failures. I'd change the oil (which is scheduled soon anyway, correct?), inspect the oil and magnet on the drain plug (I think it has one...) for metal bits or evidence of excessive metal wear and continue to ride it. It's a Honda; while not unheard-of for things to go wrong on a Honda, it's rare.

Have a service rep ride the bike to demonstrate to him what it's doing and get his opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
While I tend to agree (if there were a hard fault it would, you'd think, be persistent), there might be faults that present randomly. If a fastener is loose or a bit of machining swarf the mechanism could periodically go out of alignment or be interfered-with.

I was under the impression from your OP that the trans seemed fine and then sort of suddenly wasn't (at ~300kms). Does the problem come and go? If so, it may still mean there's something that needs to be addressed but in the shift mechanism "upstream" of the shift drum. Those parts can be accessed from the right side of the engine after removing the clutch but without taking the bottom end apart.

Regardless, it seems early to talk about catastrophic failures. I'd change the oil (which is scheduled soon anyway, correct?), inspect the oil and magnet on the drain plug (I think it has one...) for metal bits or evidence of excessive metal wear and continue to ride it. It's a Honda; while not unheard-of for things to go wrong on a Honda, it's rare.

Have a service rep ride the bike to demonstrate to him what it's doing and get his opinion.
Thank you, that makes sense. Yes it seemed completely fine up until just over 300 and then became intermittent. Like today for example, I just came back from a 45 minute ride, at varying conditions, and not a single missed shift or crunch. End of the day, you're absolutely right. I have nothing but good reliability experience from Honda. I'll let the tech give his opinion tomorrow.

Yes oil change due at 1k kms, so coming up real soon. I don't want to do it earlier than needed but I'm tempted. I'll just leave it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I'm starting to suspect a shifter adjustment is needed and may solve the issue. After my ride yesterday, as long as I was absolutely deliberate and commanding with my shift action, the gear slot in nicely. Soon as I slip up and put a tiny bit less pressure, I get a very ugly crunching reminder.

I just don't get it though...it's not like I'm shifting with weak footwork...and sometimes I barely even have to tap and it feels like it slots right in with little to no effort at all, especially 3rd upward.

In any case, can someone please confirm if specs below (taken from a service manual for a CBR for 2015 model I think) are accurate for 2020 F 🤓. I think I have to move the shifter up a little bit maybe? Theoretically that should mean there will be less travel needed to slot the gear in and therefore less pressure required? Who knows 🤷‍♂️

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Sometimes you just need to adjust the clutch cable to YOUR desires, and forget what the book says. I always like my clutch NOT to have much free play in the cable, thus pulling the lever disengages the clutch more quickly and therefore frees up the shifting mechanism from any engine pressure on the shifter forks. The only down side to this is make sure you don't take out all free play and thus partially disengaging the clutch even when the handlebar lever is all the way out. This would cause premature clutch slippage.

Secondly the shift angle of the shifter arm at your foot needs to match your situation, angle of your foot, and the footwear that you wear - which can make a difference in the amount of pull/push your left foot puts on the lever.

Lastly (IMO) I think the engine/crankcase needs far more frequent oil changes than the manual suggests. I would never go over 5,000 miles between oil changes. On my brand new 2017 F, I actually changed over to synthetic oil (Shell Rotella T6) at less than 500 miles, then again at 1,000 miles, then again at 5,000. Now I am on 5,000 intervals. Of course, I ALWAYS put on a new filter each time - even though my manual says to change filters every 16,000 miles, and to change oil every 8,000 miles! Waaaay too long before changes!

Also, I never leave old oil in bike over winter. As oils get used, it becomes more dirty with engine particles, carbon, etc. It also accumulates a certain amount of acidity. To leave that in the bike all winter is not good. So no matter what the mileage at the end of riding season, I put in clean oil for the winter and then ran it in the spring time.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sometimes you just need to adjust the clutch cable to YOUR desires, and forget what the book says. I always like my clutch NOT to have much free play in the cable, thus pulling the lever disengages the clutch more quickly and therefore frees up the shifting mechanism from any engine pressure on the shifter forks. The only down side to this is make sure you don't take out all free play and thus partially disengaging the clutch even when the handlebar lever is all the way out. This would cause premature clutch slippage.

Secondly the shift angle of the shifter arm at your foot needs to match your situation, angle of your foot, and the footwear that you wear - which can make a difference in the amount of pull/push your left foot puts on the lever.

Lastly (IMO) I think the engine/crankcase needs far more frequent oil changes than the manual suggests. I would never go over 5,000 miles between oil changes. On my brand new 2017 F, I actually changed over to synthetic oil (Shell Rotella T6) at less than 500 miles, then again at 1,000 miles, then again at 5,000. Now I am on 5,000 intervals. Of course, I ALWAYS put on a new filter each time - even though my manual says to change filters every 16,000 miles, and to change oil every 8,000 miles! Waaaay too long before changes!

Also, I never leave old oil in bike over winter. As oils get used, it becomes more dirty with engine particles, carbon, etc. It also accumulates a certain amount of acidity. To leave that in the bike all winter is not good. So no matter what the mileage at the end of riding season, I put in clean oil for the winter and then ran it in the spring time.
I'm right there with you on oil intervals and winter conditions etc. I never let the same oil sit all year, and always do a fresh change and thorough check + chain cleaning and lube right before I tuck it away for winter. Come spring time, all I need to do is put some air in the tires, do a quick check and I'm ready to ride. Parts are super cheap, I'm more than ok shelling a few extra bucks for that.

As for the gear changing issue...I just got back from the dealership and the tech took it out, confirmed everything is operating, sounding and feeling as it should. He was adamant that it was due to my size 13s not having enough leverage under the pedal to pull up. I mean...he's right, I always felt super awkward changing up, with my foot not having enough clearance to go under and I'd have to angle my foot really high to get under. Fair. Still doesn't explain why sometimes it's buttery smooth, and other times its crunchy AF.

Anyway, he adjusted the height on the shifter, and now my foot has enough room to hover right under the shifter in anticipation of a gear change without it being too awkwardly angled. The ride home was smooth, so hopefully that's the solution and I can put a lid on this. I'll test it thoroughly tonight/this week and see.

As for the coolant, as others mentioned, they just asked me to keep an eye for now.

Finally, the clutch actuator leak - tech said it's probably over greased from factory and doesn't look like it's oil. Again, I'm instructed to clean it off and keep an eye....
 

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As for the gear changing issue...I just got back from the dealership and the tech took it out, confirmed everything is operating, sounding and feeling as it should. He was adamant that it was due to my size 13s not having enough leverage under the pedal to pull up. I mean...he's right, I always felt super awkward changing up, with my foot not having enough clearance to go under and I'd have to angle my foot really high to get under. Fair. Still doesn't explain why sometimes it's buttery smooth, and other times its crunchy AF.
Hopefully it's that simple. Doesn't really explain why you didn't have an issue until 300kms in unless you also changed to a different boot or something around the same time.

Cheers.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hopefully it's that simple. Doesn't really explain why you didn't have an issue until 300kms in unless you also changed to a different boot or something around the same time.

Cheers.
Nothing at all about me has changed since the late 90s 🤣. Very puzzling, but let's see what happens.

It is very unlikely I missed the crunching feeling up until 300kms somehow and only noticed it then. It is possible though that I got too comfortable with the shifter and got "lazy"? Anyway. I appreciate your input ☺
 

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After a few hundred miles or so and a few trips you will get the hang of it. I changed boots and most of the problem went away. Then I measured the pedal height from the floor and played about with different heights until I found the correct position. BUT if I am lazy on shifting the problem rears its head to let me know to be more positive in my shift technique.
 

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I'm currently on my 5th 500 series bike, a 2020 500x, but had `13, and '16 500x (for me) and 500f (for her) bikes before. I can say, some of them were a bit more temperamental with 1st and 2nd, especially on early bikes. Honda has redesigned the gear selector star for the' 16 model, s but being deliberate with shifts helped on all year bikes. I'm riding a pair of casual looking motorcycle boots for commuting, and high and relatively stiff adventure boots for touring - by now I know where to adjust my shifter, but it needed some fiddling.
As others mentioned having a crunchy gearbox is not what you would like to run on the long run, definitely report at the 1k km service, but hope it will be solved by the new oil and shifter adjustment.
 

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New clutch and gas cables always get slacky after initial 200 miles or so of use. Usually the first service checkin is to go through all the parts and re-adjust them. So it's just fine.
 

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That's a good point, and helps to answer the routine question.. 'why is the first service so expensive?'. If the dealer performs the service properly 'by the book', it's much more than dropping the oil and spinning on a new oil filter. And I'd like to believe the least experienced technician in the shop is not assigned the task... but I suspect he/she often are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Reporting back with my tail between my legs...

Not a single missed shift or crunch in the last 2 days of riding. The cable slack is fine; turned out to be shifter height afterall...🤦‍♂️

I've also been preloading the shifter now that the angle that my foot has to be in isn't as awkward, and it almost glides into gear. I'm really not a noob...but I guess this beast is different.
 
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